Although dementia is most often seen in adults, childhood dementia does occur. Infections and poisoning can lead to dementia in children as well as in adults. Also, some disorders can cause childhood dementia, such as Niemann-Pick disease, Batten disease, Lafora body disease, and other medical conditions.
While dementia most commonly affects adults, it can also occur in children. For example, infections and poisoning can lead to dementia in people of any age. In addition, some disorders normally unique to children can cause childhood dementia.
Conditions that can cause dementia in childhood include:
- Niemann-Pick disease
- Batten disease
- Lafora body disease
- Other medical conditions.
Niemann-Pick disease is a group of inherited disorders that affect metabolism and are caused by specific genetic mutations. People with Niemann-Pick disease cannot properly metabolize cholesterol and other lipids. Therefore, excessive amounts of cholesterol accumulate in the liver and spleen and excessive amounts of other lipids accumulate in the brain.
Symptoms of Niemann-Pick disease may include:
- Problems with learning and memory.
Niemann-Pick disease usually begins in young school-age children but it may also appear during teen years or early adulthood.